Pro-life author Myrtzie Levell collected the stories of post-abortive women for her book, “Journey of Healing: Finding Healing and Hope After Abortion.” In it, she also tells her own abortion story.
An abortion at 15
Levell was 15 when she had her first of two abortions. Afraid to tell her parents she was pregnant, she spent the weekend at her best friend’s house. Her friend and cousin took her to the abortion facility. Levell writes that her abortion was traumatizing:
The nurse kept squeezing my hand assuring me that everything would be okay.
In my mind and heart, I knew it wasn’t going to be okay. My heart was screaming inside, and I wanted them to stop, but it was too late – too late for my baby and too late for me to go back and undo what was already done.
Afterward, Levell recalls feeling relieved but at the same time, empty. She says, “All I could do was cry.”
When she arrived back at her parents’ house she went to bed and spent the next few days crying. She then resolved to forget about her abortion.
Depression and suicide
But in the weeks that followed, she regretted her decision, wondering what would’ve happened if she’d chosen life. She says:
I tried very hard to keep myself together, but depression set in, and I had to try something to make me feel better.
I tried drinking. I tried drugs. I even tried more sex. Nothing worked. I thought I only had one choice left to stop the pain that I was feeling so deep in my heart. I decided to end my life.
Levell overdosed on medication. Fortunately, her mother realized something was wrong and rushed her to the hospital, and she survived.
One study found that post-abortive teenagers are 10 times more likely than other teens to attempt suicide within six months of their abortions.
Levell says she was “forced” to see a therapist but never told her she had an abortion. She continued to struggle emotionally.
A coerced abortion
Levell started dating a new boyfriend named Tim. She told him about her abortion and her post-abortion trauma.
At 16, she got pregnant again. This time, though, she was hopeful, feeling “scared and a little excited at the same time.” She hoped Tim would support her:
I thought to myself, “I have a boyfriend that really cares for me and I thought he would be excited too… I was expecting him to say something like ‘It will be ok. We can do this together.’
Instead, he said, “We can’t have this baby. I think you need to get an abortion.” She refused, and he told her, “You have two choices. Get the abortion and I stay or have the baby and I leave.” Already dealing with emotional trauma, Levell was afraid to lose him:
My heart and mind were in battle. What should I do? I was so scared. Would I be able to find another guy to love me like Tim loved me? Could I take the chance to lose him? I really loved him. I needed him so much. I was scared to be alone again.
She gave in and agreed to abort. But even at the abortion facility, she hoped for another answer:
As we sat in the lobby, waiting for my name to be called I was hoping that he would say, ‘Myrtzie, let’s leave. We can have this baby.’ I was sitting there praying for that to happen and then I heard my name called. It made me jump because I was deep in thought – imagining us having this baby together – so when I heard my name it interrupted my daydream and I lost all hope.
She said she felt “so alone” as she walked down the hall to the room where the abortion would be committed.
She remembers crying on the abortion table, saying, “I felt they were not only sucking my baby out, but they were also sucking my soul out.”
Discovering the truth
She and Tim kept dating but were “very dysfunctional.” They argued constantly. When Levell became pregnant again, she told him she was having the baby – with or without him. Tim married her but their relationship remained troubled.
When Levell went to get an ultrasound, she learned the truth about fetal development for the first time. “I was not expecting to see what we saw…” she says. “We could see our baby’s heartbeat, and then we heard the heartbeat… Then we saw her 10 fingers and 10 toes. She was even sucking on her thumb.”
Levell was horrified, because of her past abortions:
The abortion clinic told me it was a blob of tissue. They told me it wasn’t a baby. But what I was seeing was a baby, our baby. WHAT DID I DO? Flashbacks of both my abortions came crashing into my mind. My heart was devastated again with regret and shame.
Motherhood, emotional trauma, and eventual healing
Levell went on to have three living daughters. Although she loved them, her past abortions caused her to suffer when she spent time with them:
[E]very time I would look at my daughters who I loved so much I thought about the two that I had aborted. I would think of all the opportunities in their lives that I missed out on …
Because of what I had done in the past, my children were a constant reminder to me of all that I had missed by aborting my other children. As a result, I began to struggle with depression.
As the years went by, Levell continued to suffer emotionally. She says she was “dying on the inside” and “I felt like I had to overcompensate. I had to be a good mom and a good churchgoer.”
Levell saw an article about a post-abortion recovery group at a local pregnancy resource center. Through the group, she found healing.
Levell’s book was written to give other post-abortive women a voice and convince those considering abortion to choose life.
Source: Myrtzie Levell Journey of Healing: Finding Healing and Hope after Abortion (Mount Dora, Florida: Legacy House Publishing Group, 2014) 80-88